Sunday, April 23, 2006

I see that Bill Gates has the same dream that I do, namely that every student should have a Tablet PC / UMPC (tip of the hat to GottaBeMobile for catching the article in IfoWorld).

If you click on the “small” picture of a MindManager map below, you’ll see that I’ve put more than a little thought into the matter. This ability to post a “web” map is a pretty nice feature of MindManager in itself by the way! The only problem that I had with it was that the jpg file it created was over 8MB! I’m sure there’s a setting somewhere to lower the quality of the image, but until then I’ll just use Photoshop to do that (the full map is now just over 1MB in size and opens in the upper right corner so you'll have to scroll around ...and a big monitor helps!)

Anyway, back to what the map represents: the dream of a large district that is totally 1:1 with tablets. Even with all of the work that I’ve put into this map, it is still a rough draft. As a web only version, it lacks a lot of the supporting documentation I’ve gathered over the past year and a half. It also has a rather fast timeline, mostly because I like the idea of having a document that is ambitious and uses “2010.” I also hope that a tablet/UMPC manufacturer will have some kind of a deal on pricing to offer a district willing to purchase 45,000 or so units. The lessons shown are from an early brainstorming session that I had with some of my fellow faculty members. I really wish I could’ve been at WIPTE and seen the work being done, especially the presentations on tablets and geology, a subject I teach.

Most of all, I really want the idea to go forward and be successful. As always, feel free to share your thoughts.

PS: Major thanks to all the other tablet/UMPC sites out there (a complete list is in the map under (“Places to go to learn more about Tablet Pc’s”)

Monday, April 17, 2006

As a teacher with more than one classroom, I have to have everything I need on a cart. When I got my tablet (personal money) I managed to receive a small grant and I purchased a nice Mitsubishi XL5 projector and a cart. I quickly found that I needed a sound system (40 watt w/sub woofer…it rocks!). With the sound system, I found that I could use a dvd/vcr plaer and dispense with ever having to use a school TV again (yea!). Here’s a picture of my current setup (click for the "larger" version:

In the course of the year, I found that even being wired to my projector through the VGA cable was too confining. I wanted to be able to wander the room with my tablet as I ran through my demo’s, lectures, and whatever. I also wanted to be able to plop my tablet down in front of a student so they could do examples or show their insights “on the fly.” It also has the benefit of letting me work through some ideas of how I would teach a class if everyone had a tablet. Since I had been very frugal with my funds for the past several years (and my students had gone easy on the science glassware), my principal gave me the funds to buy a new projector that supports wireless connectivity (an Epson 755c). Of course, I think he was really going to get another projector anyway and that he like the one I had just fine ;-)

It just arrived and I’m going to start testing it out as this week – I’ll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Long time no blog! I really should schedule these things ;-)

The other day I had to make a presentation for a grant in front of a group of people who would be donating serious money (more than $10). Normally, I have no problem doing this. However, I have been suffering many sleepless nights (a cold or West Nile) and I wasn't as prepared as I like to be. Not only that, but the speakers who were to go before me were mostly missing (late) so I got bumped up into the first group. As I start my presentation, the secretary starts banging away on her keyboard to take notes -- it was loud! Every time I spoke "klackety-klackety-klack!" Every time I stopped, silence. Very distracting.

Yet another reason for Tablet PC's: a return to shorthand!